Matthew stared anxiously at the small cathode ray tube television screen.
“I sort of feel like some one should say something, you know.” He blurted out.
“Like what?” Asked Richard, the engineer he was working with.
“I don’t know, something profound. Monumental.” Matthew walked over to the breaker switch that would turn on the broadcast transmitter and ran his fingers across it. “We’re about to turn on the first television broadcast in the history of the city. It’s not something you get to do twice. Once we do this, that’s, you know…it.”
“It’s just the damn test pattern, Matt.” Laughed Richard. “No one’s even going to know its there. Nobody in town owns a TV.”
Matthew nodded. “Guess you’re right. People of Memphis, meet WMC-TV.”
He flipped the switch, there was an electric hiss in the room, and the screen on the other side of the room glowed to life with the silver indian head test pattern.
Suddenly, there was a small pop, then several much louder ones as every fuse in the building blew out.
“Hey, look at it this way,” Richard called out in the dark, “guess you will get to do the first broadcast twice.”
On December 11th, 1948, WMC-TV became the first television station to broadcast from Memphis. Until 1953 when a competing station opened, WMC was able to broadcast shows from all four of the national networks. And, no, I don’t think they blew out all of their fuses when they first flipped the switch. Too bad.